Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Total Recall Trailer & The Original Novel Revisited

Total Recall is one of those movies that's a weird Saturday night classic. The Remake is too me a visually stunning movie. The movie trailer looks like something out of  a Concept Art website. The action is fantastic & its a virtual feast for the mind's eye.
We Can Remember It For You Whole Sale by Philip K. Dick is the novel both movies are based on.
But where is this movie going? When I first heard that they were remaking this I was very interested... but wary. The original novel is a study in paranoia & switching loyalties,perspectives,etc.  Its not an overly complicated novel by no means but very well done in its simplicity
Douglas Quail, a simple and ordinary man, wishes to visit Mars. Unable to afford it, he visits a company, Rekall Incorporated, that offers implanted memories ("extra-factual memory"). The attempt to implant some exciting Mars memories of Quail as a secret agent reveals that Quail actually is an undercover government assassin with a mind full of dangerous secrets. The Rekall staff quickly get Quail out of their office; he heads home and finds certain physical evidence to support his new old memories. His handlers initially seek his death but instead Quail, being an assassin, avoids this and goes on the run. Unfortunately, he has an implanted device which can be used to read his thoughts. He therefore makes a deal in which the memory of his Mars mission is replaced by a false memory of his deepest desire as analyzed by psychiatrists - that he saved the world from an alien invasion at the age of 9. The Rekall staff begin the memory-implanting procedure, and run into the same problem as they did earlier - the incredible memories they are about to insert are already there and real.
Personal Opinion Ahead 
 The new trailer looks like its closer to the original novel in most places. The problem I'm having is that the trailer & pre marketing of these trailers is giving to much of the damn movie away!
 The marketing for Promethus was brilliant .It got everyone excited but seriously I knew way more about the plot before I saw the movie

I'm a fan of the older version of  Total Recall from 1990. The film is even farther away from the original novel then the remake! I've reread the novel by  Piers Anthony  based on the 1990 movie which is light years away from the Dick novel. We're dealing with two very different authors here.

 The plot was loosely adapted into the 1990 film Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the film, the hero, renamed Quaid, actually travels to Mars, but the initial memory implant scene foreshadows much of what he achieves: kills the bad guys, gets the girl, saves the planet, blue sky on Mars.
The script maintains deliberate ambiguity as to whether the events are occurring in the physical world or only in Quaid's own fantasy, which was an artistic decision by director Paul Verhoeven. In fact, in the 1997 re-release DVD, Verhoeven explains in the commentary that he chose to fade to white rather than black, as that technique is typically used in cinematography to indicate either death or awakening from a dream
 The 1990 movie plays with perception & ups the spy/space drama with a great megadungeon lurking in the background.
I'm hoping that the remake ups the spy drama & heightens the action/cum spy drama. Both of these movies provide fodder for a space OSR style game from different perspectives. The Remake already has two or more nods to the 1990 film..


We the novel by Philp K. Dick has been around a very long time 
"We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" was first published in the April 1966 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

The idea of playing with player's perceptions, loyalties & realities in games has been around since the beginning of the hobby. The films could provide a very different slant on a game of Mutant Future or Metamorphis Alpha. 
For a completely different take the players might journey into the memories of a long dead war hero. Relive his life from different vantage points. Ultimately to find some sought after goal.
They might journey to a mega dungeon left over from the alien invasion of the film. The technology could be used in a game of Carcosa to download the memories of a sorcerer or even a ... gasp serpent man.
 Human Space Empires might regularly employ this technology to insert spies, activate moles, & gain advantages over the numerous enemies of the Empire.
Stars Without Number has several technologies that have a wide variety of applications in both the military & civilian arenas. 
Pretty much the sky is the limit with what can be done with this.

Given the number of mind bending & effecting spells in OD&D & AD&D this stuff can easily, in fact too easily be slipped into a fantasy game. 


  1. I had to skip ahead past the spoiler alert. I don't know much of anything about these movies, but did just watch the trailer over at Flea's place.

    Saw The Avengers. Love that movie.

  2. I the Dick story is a bit of a throwaway, I think (though I enjoy it), but I agree, the new movie seems like it may be a bit closer to it.

  3. Hope your doing better Whisk from what I read this past week on your blog. Sorry I haven't commented but I've been very busy this week. I must apologize if my English hasn't been the best in this blog. Its been a stressed filled 2 weeks.. The Avengers rocked though & I did enjoy it..
    Trey - The Dick novel doesn't have much substance(really)& there are many better novels by him. The first movie elevated the original novel to classic status I think. I'm sort of holding my breath with the new movie & taking a wait & see attitude with it..


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.